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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 14, 2011 4:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Very funny quote. And I'm with you on what you said below:

>I don't hate Phish; I just don't get them.

So I'm wondering ... can anyone articulate for me what the appeal of Phish is, anyway? I know we've gone through this before, but it usually becomes Phish-bashing. (And that's like shooting fish in a barrel; if you look online, even their fans defend them by saying things like, "not ALL their lyrics are fluff!" Ooooh, high praise, that.)

But really ... what IS it about Phish that grabs huge numbers of people and fills some kind of emotional place? What space in the counterculture do they occupy that is different from the GD? In a Venn diagram, there'd be overlap between audiences, but how would Phish's space be different? How would folks describe their emotional tone, or whatever it is that they offer that really does pull fans in but that clearly DOESN'T appeal to quite a lot of Deadheads?

I think of it, probably wrongly, as being a Psyche-Lite spin-off of a certain fuzzy-wuzzy rainbow aspect of later Deadhead culture. (So how's that for Phish bashing?) But I don't think I'm being fair there, and I'm definitely not knowledgeable. (Never been to a Phish show; never listened for long without getting bored. I appreciate SCI, YMSB, Railroad Earth ... Phish is like, "meh.")

I get the argument by Phish fans that Phish largely invented the "jam band movement" (in contrast to the GD's earlier place in history as, well, "They're not the best at what they do, they're the only ones who do what they do.") But audiences aren't there to hand out Certificates of Appreciation for Rock History. And I get that Phish fans contend that the band has great technical skills ... but, again, no one goes to shows to hand out Certificates for Guitar Technique. They're getting something more ... a feeling, an emotional universe, something ... and Phish fans are awfully obsessed, right? (I'd argue it won't last, but still, they are most certainly into it.)

So there's got to be SOMETHING that differentiates Phish's musical space or mythic space from the Dead's musical or mythic space, and while it may not grab me personally, it does have a big impact on lots of folks who have a lot in common, musically and culturally, with folks who are into the Dead ... so I'm really wondering if anyone can articulate it.





This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-14 11:17:31

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Poster: Ras ViKing Date: Aug 14, 2011 8:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I don't know either. I 'got' the GD long before I went to a show. Or smoked. Or drank. Or dropped. Or ... There were definitely aspects of it that didn't fall into place until I was at a show.

I've never been to a PHISH concert, although, I have listened to a few "tapes" and maybe several parts of some of their LPs/CDs. Nothing jumped out and grabbed me. Nothing made me think 'Wait, rewind that cuz I gotta hear that again.'

I did get a DVD that had excerpts from a bunch of rehearsals and shows where they did some bluegrass-style jamming. That was alright, but I don't think I've played it in 2-3 years and probably only a couple times total. I have passed copies on to some bluegrass loving friends and they liked it [I think].

I don't think age necessarily has anything to do with it. I've been to see SCI and thought they were cooking with nitro. [Especially compared to the Ratdog opener which didn't really grab me [mostly Bobby, everyone else seemed to be spot on and putting out 100%+ (ymmv)].

I guess some like jelly-jelly and some like roll. And yet others want only jam.

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Poster: Daddy D Date: Aug 15, 2011 3:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Blair Jackson's take on Phish:

http://www.dead.net/features/blairs-golden-road-blog/blair-s-golden-road-blog-phish-wsp-derek-and-other-fellow-travelers

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Poster: rastamon Date: Aug 15, 2011 4:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

and the well said comments after Blairs blog. Btw, the 11/14/95 Stash was very intense with shifting melodic out bursts of pure bliss and mobli intense harmonic's...i give it a wowyeah...that Jam - 100pts
Go to LL & DL just the sthash run included in CD 2. W/Utorrent u can delete tracks/files. This Phish will blow your mind!

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Poster: gr8flmed Date: Aug 15, 2011 7:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Phish sounds like a Dr. Seuss book on acid

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Aug 15, 2011 8:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

They are a bit melodramatic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhd7MXwpLec&;feature=related

Lyrical depth ... shot her dead

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YK_XPZ_Xhg&;feature=related

This post was modified by bluedevil on 2011-08-16 03:27:03

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Poster: rastamon Date: Aug 15, 2011 8:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

nice BD! so far...in the lions den..

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Poster: vapors Date: Aug 14, 2011 5:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I haven’t been to a Phish show yet, but here is a basic rundown of why I like them.
Each of them is very talented at their respective instruments. Trey is an awesome guitarist, and as convoluted as a lot of the lyrics are, he has a knack for phrasing them. The bass, drums and keyboards – these fellows exhibit a flair and cohesiveness garnered from years of playing together. Great drumming! Phish can really stretch out and explore the groove, and the interplay of each member is awesome. The guitar leads flow through various moods of rock and jazz, atonal at times but usually crescendoing (that might not be a real word) to a fine, sweet climax.

I don’t know if what I wrote sheds any light on your question, and I haven't compared them to the Dead! There is probably more to be said about the scene and the experience of being there that might better explain why this band ‘grabs’ so many fans. It is obvious that their music isn’t for everyone – but I really appreciate them, and it would be hard to deny their impact.

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Poster: WillCo Date: Aug 15, 2011 6:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I agree. I loved "progressive rock" back in the early 70s, especially such bands as King Crimson, Gong, Spirit, Pink Floyd, Can, Gentle Giant, ELP, Soft Machine to name a few. Some of the personalities became a bit irritating over time, but the music still shines (try King Crimson's "Red" or "Lark's Tongues In Aspic"; if you haven't heard them you're in for a treat).

For me Phish keep the prog fires burning. A good thing. The link posted by He Live's elsewhere in this thread is a pretty good example of recent Phish; the live set "A Live One" is a good selection from earlier shows.

I really see no point in comparing them to Grateful Dead.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Aug 15, 2011 12:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

"I really see no point in comparing them to Grateful Dead."

COMPLETELY AGREE.


Now I'm going to do to dance to Gehry's Bilbao building...

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 15, 2011 6:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Yeah, well, shoulda probably used a different header. (Maybe I just wanted to use the phrase Shooting Phish in a Barrel, ha ha bad pun.) The comparison I meant, though, was a focus on the distinctions without so much getting at better/worse. The different musical universes they occupy. And, well, it's a GD-knowledgeable forum, so why not?

Btw, saying "prog rock" is actually a really good "comparison" ... cuz it differentiates :-)

Maybe it should have been Compare and Contrast. And of course that's a standard college thing ... you might get "compare and contrast Pop Art and Minimalism," and you sure couldn't get two more different-seeming things.

So, next seemingly dumb and irrelevant thread title: Compare and Contrast Pigpen and Mickey. :-)

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Poster: adks12020 Date: Aug 15, 2011 11:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I'm a Phish fan. I have been since I was 14 (I'm 29 now) and I've seen them around 100 times. The reason I got into Phish was actually for their musical talent. I've been a huge jazz fan since I was young and really respect people that play their instruments well and play together well as a band. Phish fits the bill in both regards. My first favorites were the long jams on A Live One (Slave to the Traffic Light, You Enjoy Myself, Stash, Tweezer) On top of that they put on a great live show full of energy and yes there is often some humor involved but i don't think that takes away from the show in any way. In fact it brings the crowd in.

As far as the lyrics go...if I wanted to see a band for the lyrics Phish wouldn't be it. I'm one of the few long time fans that doesn't like the stories Trey sometimes tells and doesn't care about the fantasy driven lyrics of Gamehenge and the like. I'm there strictly for the music.

Also, I think I need to point out that lyrics aren't always an essential point of feelings evoked through music. Music itself does that quite nicely on it's own most times. With Phish I kind of think of their jamming as (at the risk of sound like a spent wookie) painting different landscapes with sound. Each time they change key or tempo or time signature they try to create a different mood...from light and bouncy, down into some dark minor key, then gradully pulling away into an ethereal space and then back to the song again. It's different than dead jamming in so many ways. It's a little less free form. They play more as a group and less as individuals that miraculously play completely different things sometimes that seems to work together (the Grateful Dead). That's why Trey once said "there are some aspects of the Grateful Dead I love; There are some aspects of the Grateful Dead I don't like. We're not the Grateful Dead"

If you go to a Phish show expecting something like that then you will definitely be disappointed but they don't do the same thing as the Grateful Dead so I think it's odd to go in expecting that anyway.

I think I'm rambling a little now but hopefully I got my point across. Phish is a more modern, rock, jazz, fusion type band. They tend to be more technical than the Dead but that's because for the musicians in the band that suits them best. The Grateful Dead had more of an Americana influence also infused with some jazz, blues, rock and fusion and they winged it a little more and had a "lets see what happens" vibe...sometimes tanked sometimes didn't...always interesting though.

Two very different bands and I love them both for different reasons.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 15, 2011 7:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

>I think I need to point out that lyrics aren't always an essential point of feelings evoked through music. Music itself does that quite nicely on it's own most times

Absolutely! (Early Beatles? She loves you yeah yeah yeah ... )

And I agree it would be silly to go to a Phish show (or any show) expecting and thinking of another band. But it can be useful to make the comparison in terms of locating their place in the music and perceptual map, particularly given the obvious fan and cultural overlap. (E.g., what's the "Venn diagram"?)

What I've got from this thread on that appeal/different space is: a lightness and silliness, rocks harder, more of a jazz fusion/prog rock orientation, perhaps funkier, perhaps more contrasting or quickly changing musical landscapes ... also, there's an appeal on the sheer skill level (though I wonder if this forum just draws more folks with an ear and apreciation for the technical aspects of playing!)

Gotta say the folks on this forum who are Phish fans sure do a better job at differentiating/explaining what grabs its fans than the standard "dude, they're awesome"!!!

It also helps me to understand better why it doesn't grab me. For instance, I lost interest in "rocks harder" after getting into the Dead. That's a very "classic rock" kinda thing. So the extent to which a "newer" band like Phish incorporates what I liked at 14 or so in Zeppelin, Yes, etc (and still like for nostalgia's sake, but not in a huge way) would be a plus for some, and a "meh" for me. Then there are all the other aspects that were discussed, some of which are, again, a plus for some and a "meh" for me.

Doesn't make it good or bad. Just makes it what it is. I also dislike the Police and Sting and am not interested in U2. I'd never say those bands are "bad," just not my thing.

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-16 02:24:12

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Poster: gr8flmed Date: Aug 15, 2011 7:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Phish sounds like a Dr. Seuss book on LSD.

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Poster: TOOTMO Date: Aug 16, 2011 5:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

"Gotta say the folks on this forum who are Phish fans sure do a better job at differentiating/explaining what grabs its fans than the standard "dude, they're awesome"

I think the dude-they're-awesome fan is the one that is attracted to the marketing aspect, vis-a-vis, "phree phish show", "phish phood", etc. And, try and read a Phish show review: as any good subgroup knows, you got to have your own language—"can you dig it, man?" Phish Phans (and I think that was a brilliant idea to go with "Phans" instead of "PhishHeads") have more acronyms than the Government.

I think a lot of kids took up Phish as their generation's "last great adventure" same as the Dead's appeal before them as being an alternative to running away and joining the circus. If it's the early 90's and I am 20 and I have read the Beats, the Psychedelia, and I have made it through Reaganomics, where am I going to go to find like-minded people, the counterculture of the day? Well, everybody can't move to the Pacific Northwest. But, I know if I go to a Phish show in Nashville, ATL, Memphis, etc., I will meet like-minded people who are a lot different than the general populace. I will certainly meet people willing to trip and roll. And then, I will go back to my small college and spread the word about good drugs, horny chicks, and a drummer who wears a sack dress. I'll probably bring some discs that I scored for a tab and be the cool kid with the latest tunes.

I also think Phish did an outstanding job of putting together the corporate side of it. They seemed to be the first to really tap into using "them internet webs" computers, with listservs, downloadable concerts, etc. If you go to Phish.Net, you can download thousands of shows. You can find mind-boggling stats. The Phish enterprise is computerized while the Dead are still using rubberbands around index cards.

And, I think there are Phish Phans like adks who can appreciate Phish's musicality. The fact that they are accomplished musicians lends credence to being a Phan. I can't imagine that they would have been able to "stay cool" all these years if they did not have the musicianship to back up their antics.

Music-wise for me: meh. I tend to like their covers better than their original songs. My favorite is a Halloween show where they cover "Quadrophenia": very nice.


TOOTMO

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Poster: clementinescaboose Date: Aug 16, 2011 6:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Another reason I feel like Phish is more accessible to today's youth culture are the availability of these shows (like you said, band taking full advantage of the internet age) and the modern recording technology used to tape them. Most of my Phish tapes completely blow away any sound on almost any GD recording (except maybe certain vault releases) - even their audience recordings! One thing that always bothered me about GD (not their fault of course, but he limitations of the time period) is practically all my favorite shows have the absolutely worst sound quality - so a lot of times when I put on a really HOT tape from like '68-69 for my buddies, it ends up getting completely ignored...cause you can't even hear it!

If people could get past the 'sound' of a lot of GD tapes I think they'd garner more respect from the Phish Phan Umfreek groups.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 14, 2011 8:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I'm not a huge Phish fan, but I saw them a few times, and one moment in particular was a pretty impressive performance highlight. It was at Alpine in the mid to late 90s, I forget what year, and a big jam eventually evolved into a white-noise jam reminiscent of "The Tiger" - except it was being played in intermittent bursts, and Trey and Mike were laying on their back onstage, and when they were doing the shredding tremolo, they would kick their legs like riding a bicycle upside down - then stop and it would be silent for a moment, then they would start kicking again and the whole band spazzed out until they stopped kicking. Lasted about a minute or something, then somehow they pulled it back to regular music. I've never heard the tape, so I don't even know how impressed I would be with hearing the whole thing just as sound - but as a jam/performance, it was great and hilarious. I don't think it was a common, rehearsed sequence like the YEM trampolines, it was just something wild and fun that happened.

For me, that captured what made Phish distinctive and exciting - lighthearted enthusiasm, some pretty impressive chops as well as a lot of intricately arranged songs. I saw them once a year from 95-99 but lost interest after that, I have a total of zero minutes of their music in my collection and never really feel inclined to listen to any, although at some point I might get around to listening again.

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Poster: rastamon Date: Aug 14, 2011 5:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I saw Phish at the Shoreline 1997 thru 2001 then once after their hiatus. All very good shows, but their best (I'm told) was behind them in the early 90's. My collection is 2DVD's Bittersweet Motel & Live in Vegas + 3 of the shows I saw. This morning I googled to find the best phish shows, did a bunch of research for a top-top show, came up with the 11/14/95 show that supposed to have an absolute killer 2nd set, ie - also the "best" Stash ever. I luv good stash so my LLtorrent finished and we shall see...hey any leeches wanna jump on? its at LL and wtf is Dog Faced Boy, roy?

Stash->
Manteca->
Stash->
Dog Faced Boy->
Stash

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 14, 2011 8:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I did a bit of googling to see how Phish fans describe the band. On the whole, not terribly enlightening; lots of use of the word "awesome." Nothing, really, on what that "awesome" entails to people. Why people follow them rather than just going, "hey, great chops," or whatever.

One sense I get, though, from thoughts posted here as well as googling, is that silliness or goofiness or light-heartedness is a big part of the appeal -- and that's very different from the GD's "good vibes." There's a transcendence to the GD Happy Dance and SYF moments or the vibes communicated in the music that doesn't seem to be what Phish is striving for, exactly.

It's also possible that, while "you have to go to a show" turned out NOT to be true with the GD -- there are huge numbers of passionate Deadheads now, many years post-Jerry and many many years post-prime, whose entire exposure is the wealth of digital recordings -- it may prove to be far more fully true of Phish.

Maybe it's just that people were hungry for a jam-band and tour experience in addition to (or instead of) the Dead, and Phish was the first and closer to their generation ...



This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-15 03:06:50

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Poster: clementinescaboose Date: Aug 15, 2011 12:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

My experience with Phish is that I started getting into them around the same time as GD. At first I actually liked Phish better, believe it or not. I was really into them for about a year or two. Around this time I was relatively young (19-20) and smoking rather liberal amounts of marijuana. My musical tastes in retrospect I feel were somewhat "immature" in that I enjoyed Phish goofiness and nonsense lyrics. GD I didn't quite get on the same level that I currently do. But once they did click, I was obsessed.

Since I've been exposed to both bands immensely (though admittedly now I'm far more entrenched in the GD camp as far as knowledge and listening experience) Personally, I do hear a number of similarities in the bands' music. Where the similarities end is definitely with the songs. But more deeply, when it comes to the playing, I get a distinct emotional response when listening to a killer Grateful Dead jam that makes me think "wow, this is sooooooo incredible!" My endorphins are pumping and I get a natural high better than any weed could hope to bring me. I also become addicted to a certain jam, song, or era and want to hear every example of it that I can, good or bad. That *can* happen with Phish, but not as frequently or obsessively, and it doesn't bring me the level of joy that GD does. Someone mentioned in an earlier thread that Phish's jams have no "stickyness" to them, and I think thats a perfect description for me personally of why I don't dig them as much.

My question is that the main reason you don't resonate with Phish is because of the songs or the playing, or both? The songs is a given, they could never hope to be the gifted songwriters GD are. But when it comes to the playing, they do interact as musicians and solo and jam much in the same way as GD does. But their style is distinctly different. Is it the style of jamming that is unappealing, the sound of the band, or the jams themselves? I guess I'm raising more question than I'm answering here and I didn't address your fundamental one of why people are obsessed with them. I'm just trying to get a deeper understating of what exactly it is that is unappealing (not always easy to explain, I acknowledge) to maybe better explain what people do like about them.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 15, 2011 4:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Aha … the “goofiness and nonsense lyrics” DO resonate for some people at a certain age in a certain generation … perhaps something about a post-60s world that’s more about going through the motions in college than Jack Kerouac/Wild West fantasies and expanding consciousness?

Hmmm. Why I don’t personally resonate? I haven’t listened to much; like I said, I get bored. But here goes. I’m afraid this WILL sound like Phish bashing, and I seriously don’t hate them, but I’ll try to encapsulate it. Since you asked :-)

Lyrics: I don’t think that weakness can be shrugged off by saying, "well, we can't expect them to be like Hunter." Sure. But still, what are the lyrics saying? What consciousness or world view do they express? I can like LOTS of different types of expression, from angry/sarcastic punk to simple unassuming love-these-mountains bluegrass, but, well, Phish seems to combine a self-focused “me me me” approach (an effort at self-revelation, but an uninteresting one IMO) with vague or half-baked thoughts, and that just bores me quickly. It seems insipid. Geez, the legend-oriented stuff is so lame and juvenile (Prince Caspian? Really?) and the drug references are also … well, lame and juvenile and mono-dimensional. Like people sitting around getting stoned and talking about how great the pot is. Zzzzzzz. Just IMO, of course.

What might be MOST interesting about the lyrics (in my totally limited experience) would be the way that specific tunes (like Waste) and even the general nonsensical-ness, seem to express a softer, sunnier version of Nirvana “oh well, whatever, nevermind” consciousness. Definitely post-60s; perhaps very generational. I don’t know if it would have attracted me if I’d been 18 in 2000. Can’t say. I always preferred edgy; the GD are quite edgy, in fact, and Phish doesn't seem to be, at least not to me. But maybe I'd have liked the community feeling and enjoyed the shows. And that's not irrelevant.

Singing: Not much character in the singing. Kinda bland and standard. The GD can be slammed for not having perfect vocals, but my gosh, they sure have feeling and character. Can't fault a band for singing the way they sing, but there's nothing to hold onto for me.

The jams: There are definitely jams that can grab me, and of course I appreciate that aspect. But it ultimately sort of floats away into the ether … it doesn’t feel rooted or soulful. Perhaps it’s more based in 70s rock rather than, say, going directly to old blues or bluegrass, and that’s why it feels ungrounded to me. And maybe they’re drawing on influences that don’t speak to me as much. I’m not a Zappa fan, for instance. So jam-wise, it's more like an "almost" than a "yes" ...




This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-15 11:06:40

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Poster: clementinescaboose Date: Aug 15, 2011 1:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Thanks for the insight. Phish's singing I find to be incredibly weak. Their cover of The Beatles White Album is an exercise in butchering. I'm not going to sit here and say that the GD's singing is good exactly, but like you said, at least they try and have emotion.

The Phish Phans who try to find all this deep meaning and insight into their songs make me laugh. There are some very good and relatively meaningful Phish songs imo. I actually love Waste, my buddy used to play that one on guitar a lot in my Phish crazed days. Most of the Billy Breathes album has some of their best songs - sort of like Phish's half-hearted attempt at American Beauty.


To me though, the focus of their music really isn't songs or singing. The jamming I do find engaging at times, like I said. One thing about Phish is that they can really rock hard, I hate to admit, better than the GD, which is why I think a lot of folks of my gen prefer them; their heavier, and more accessible and immediate in this sense.

One of the biggest distinctions in the bands' jamming is Jerry, I think. Once I was tuned into his sensibilities, the Dead really started to take off for me. His unparalleled sense of melodic improvisation, phrasing, and creative flow of ideas make Trey's playing feel anemic by comparison. This is just part of why I think I find the Dead's jamming so addictive. I won't get into the rest of the band right now, (not that they don't deserve equal attention) but that is one major factor for me.

One other factor in Phish's playing style is that their ideas, especially in the earlier years, tend to jump around way too much. Rather than letting one idea progress to its full potential, they jump from one idea to the next in some sort of a.d.d. fit. Another reason i think GD's jams have a greater sense of flow and peak. Phish's pre-composed songs like Divided Sky or Fluffhead are played in much the same way from show to show (especially in the earlier years) for most of the song, which for me gets really repetitive and boring. I can't listen to 4 You Enjoy Myselfs in a row the way I can with Dark Star or the Other One.

Still, I do find that a number of times Phish and Trey pull of some very melodic jams that peak and flow. They can have sensibilities similar to that of the Dead in this sense also. There are Phish jams that I absolutely love. But rarely are there ones that I can't get enough of.

I don't mean this to be mostly negative. I do love Phish, and I love going to see them in concert - they rarely disappoint. The problem is I just love GD so, so much more. But part of why I think I do enjoy GD more I think is because I simply listen to them more! There is a mental bias that could be factored in, no doubt. I had already been planing this before this thread, but starting soon I'm going on a Phish Quest, so to speak. I'm taking a break from GD, who I've been listening to incessantly for the past two years, and I'm going to listen to a lot more Phish, to find out if this all really is in my head, or if GD genuinely is better. Don't worry though, I think I know the answer to that already ;-)

This post was modified by clementinescaboose on 2011-08-15 20:43:59

This post was modified by clementinescaboose on 2011-08-15 20:59:23

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 15, 2011 2:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Nice post CC. especially this quote...

"Phish's pre-composed songs like Divided Sky or Fluffhead are played in much the same way from show to show (especially in the earlier years) for most of the song, which for me gets really repetitive and boring. I can't listen to 4 You Enjoy Myselfs in a row the way I can with Dark Star or the Other One."

This is so true. I recently had a discussion with my phish head friend and I felt that the dead could leave a song much easier and much more frequently than phish does. Using examples like YEM or divided sky. He said he thought phish could take a song way farther from what it is. He might be right, but they certainly seem to lack songs where each version is totally unique like DS or TOO.

You could almost think of DS or TOO as a read out from a seismometer (thingy that measures seismic activity, earthquakes). The greater the fluctuations the farther from the tune they are, or the concentrations of variations in jamming. DS and TOO frequently have a strong read out that is consistent where YEM usually has a small read out and sometimes a really big read out, when they leave the song completely. I hope someone gets that analogy hah

Also, While fishman (the drummer) is amazing at drums, robotically good at times, he seems to be too predictable. For listening to phish as little as I do, I seem to understand and predict where hes gonna go consistently. Its near impossible with the deads two drummers, and in the early 70's, billy's jazzy drumming style is just so amazing and equally hard to predict. He also tends to play really odd measures at times which make for fantastic grooves, like during TOO or DS.

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Poster: Hashjihad Date: Aug 15, 2011 4:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

I also have to add that Phish is a lot more funkier than the Dead.

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Poster: rastamon Date: Aug 15, 2011 5:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

the only way to know is to listen to the music play. For the novice, the Phish Live CD has many excellent jams and a few so-so (never really liked Wilson or Simple), At times they play incredible intricate music with ebb & flow...well, you just have to open yer ears & mind and listen.

At my 1st show in 97 I was amazed by all the older deadheads I saw there, some +50yrs old. After Jerry died the Phish and Dead scene seemed to merge into one. You just have to poke around, so start by pokin here (or not)>> http://www.livemusicblog.com/2010/07/23/phish-friday-15-must-hear-shows-for-any-phish-novice/

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Poster: Space Jogger Date: Aug 14, 2011 8:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

There are a few reasons many Deadheads don't get Phish.

1.Generational - Phish heads are younger. The majority of Phish heads are in their teens and early twenties when they caught the Phish bug (that time frame is usually long gone for most Deadheads). Usually at this age people are looking to find their way and everything that Phish has to offer is simply great for that time in your life. I find it harder to turn on to the next generation's sounds the older I get, unfortunately. Furthur, Ratdog , Phil & Friends, and others have still been able to recruit young heads into the ranks, where Phish has a hard time reaching older audiences.

2.Similar Spaces - Phish occupies many of the same cultural spaces and some similar musical spaces as the Grateful Dead, so Deadheads instinctively can only compare Phish to the Dead when the hear them and obviously Phish falls way short in that regard, because we all know "there is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert." If you can listen to Phish in a kind of vacuum without constantly thinking "It's not the Dead" or "The Dead is better" you will probably like them much more.

3."I've never seen a Phish show, but....." - Really? That sounds like some dude telling me he doesn't get the Dead and has never been to a Dead show. There is a huge emotional void there if you haven't experienced such a powerful stage presence in person or at least had a chance to get around in the lot and have some memories of grilling food, enjoying favorite mood altering substances, having impromptu jam sessions, throwing frisbees or kicking sack, rapping with some good people, or checking out the chicks, whatever; just enjoying yourself in that uniquely American context.

4."Somebody made me listen to Picture of Nectar in the mid-nineties..." - If that is your experience with Phish, than I wouldn't be that impressed either. Phish's studio albums (like the Dead's) are for the most part inconsistent with some good songs spread throughout them. That being said, Phish has been making music for a long time now and they have matured over the years. With 11 studio albums, Phish has a great catalog of original music. To judge them from one album would be like hearing "Aoxomoxoa" and trying to form an educated opinion about the Grateful Dead's body of work. It's worth mentioning that Phish plays covers as good, if not better than anybody that's out there now.

5. "Phish's lyrics blah, blah, blah..." - Yes, there are few that can write lyrics as well as Hunter, but there are still plenty of nice Phish lyrics, but you would have to listen to a lot of Phish to know that. How come the nonsensical "China Cat Sunflower" is so highly esteemed over Phish's nonsensical lyrics? It's hard to put any real logic behind that except maybe the generation you belong to.




This post was modified by Space Jogger on 2011-08-14 15:23:35

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 14, 2011 8:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Comparing GD and Phish (Without Shooting Phish in a Barrel)?

Really interesting. I could probably respond to every one of those points with more questions and thoughts and so on!

>everything that Phish has to offer is simply great for that time in your life.

What is it that they offer, and what makes it so great? That's not a sarcastic question and it's not implying I think it's nothing or "less than the Dead" or whatever. I'm just curious, because I do think it's different but similar.

There are also differences and similarities between generations -- not just afterwards, because it's harder to "get" what younger folks are into, but because of the era you're born into. So while there are emotional similarities in what teens and young 20-somethings go through in, say, 1968 and 1980 and 1995 and 2011 -- or, for that matter, 1861 and 1066 -- there are also huge differences. It's really not the same thing to be Woodstock Generation or Digital Generation, so the differences are as interesting as the points of connection.

> There is a huge emotional void there if you haven't experienced such a powerful stage presence in person or at least had a chance to get around in the lot ... throwing frisbees or kicking sack ... or checking out the chicks, whatever;

Oh no! I've never checked out chicks in the lot!!! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

While you make a good point about the importance of first-hand experience to understanding the history, sociology, perception of experience, etc, I wouldn't call it an "emotional void." Otherwise we could never enjoy ANYTHING from the past or another culture or just something we didn't personally experience, right? Everyone's experience is different. It's not crucial (hopefully) for me to know what it's like to be a guy at a Dead show (or to know what the West Coast shows were like personally, or '68 shows, etc.) So there's got to be a way to describe the Phish experience in a way that doesn't stop at, "you hadda be there."





This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-15 03:04:08